Women of Troy win three individual titles, place third

The No. 14-ranked Women of Troy closed out the 2015 Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington with a third- place team finish and three individual titles.

After the first day of competition, USC was fourth. The Women of Troy were able to improve to third overall, where they remained through the conclusion of the meet. USC finished third with 1109 points. California won the team title with 1629.5 and Stanford finished second (1401). Arizona was fourth (954.5), followed by UCLA (951.5), Utah (652), Arizona State (610), Washington State (369.5) and Oregon State (286).

Junior Kendyl Stewart kicked off USC’s winning streak on Friday, winning her second career title in the 100 yard fly. Stewart won the 100 yard fly in 51.10, 0.04 ahead the second place finisher. Stewart first won the 100 yard fly Pac-12 title as a freshman in 2013 when her 51.32 broke Lindsey DePaul’s 2011 record time of 51.34. With the 51.10, Stewart broke her school record in the race for the second time in two weeks, as she had improved it to 51.25 against UCLA on Feb. 13.

“The race felt strong and sharp from the beginning,” Stewart said. “I’m happy to have a best time under my belt heading into NCAAs in a couple of weeks. It’s also awesome to score some big points for the team to help secure a top-3 finish.”

On Saturday, senior Haley Ishimatsu became the first Pac-12 woman to win the platform three straight years and was also named the Pac-12 Women’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Ishimatsu won her third platform championship with 368.75. Her final dive in a five-dive set earned her an impressive six 9.0s and one 8.5.

Her performance makes her the second woman to win the platform title three times in her career.

“I’m so thankful for competing so well at Pac-12s the past three years,” Ishimatsu said. “I’m very honored to be the three-time Pac-12 platform champion. I’m also honored to be the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year. I’m excited for the NCAA zones next week and NCAA championships.”

Senior Andrea Kropp added another individual title to USC’s collection with a win in the 200 yard breast. It was her first career conference title. Kropp made her third straight appearance in the   Pac-12 200 yard breast final and this time was able to take home a victory in her final Pac-12 championship, winning in 2:08.51, 0.85 ahead of Stanford senior Katie Olsen (2:09.36).

Kropp is USC’s first 200 yard breaststroke title winner since              six-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Soni won in 2009.

“It was so amazing to be able to win my first Pac-12 title in my last race with the entire team,” Kropp said. “Having all of them behind me gave me the motivation that I needed to swim fast when it got tough. Winning and getting such a good time gives me confidence and only makes me even more excited for the upcoming NCAAs.”

The NCAA Championships will be held in Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 19-21.